[Dixielandjazz] What is a banjo?

John Mumford john at jazzbanjo.com
Sat Mar 5 08:43:59 PST 2005

I find the following comment of interest:

John Pembery wrote (regarding banjos in jazz):

>Five stringers have no place in jazz unless you do away with the fifth 

Ignorance comes from a closed mind. The capabilities of any instrument are 
only limited by our minds. No one played the banjo like Earl Scruggs until 
he developed the fast driving three finger roll techniques. Fiddle tunes 
were not melodic on the five string until people like Bill Keith and Bobby 
Thompson developed the melodic style. Bela Fleck left the bluegrass world to 
play jazz on the five string and has a very large following of younger folks 
that are developing a love for jazz. Other musicians such as Bill Knopf in 
Southern California plays songs like "Stomping on the Savoy", "Caravan", 
"Satin Doll" on the five string. Pat Cloud is considered the father of jazz 
on the five string. David Chrysler plays Be Bop jazz with jazz combos and 
back in the 1970s Fred Geiger made a record of nothing but jazz with songs 
like "Liza", "I've Found a New Baby", "Take The A Train."

If you really want listen to a banjo player that has taken the four string 
banjo to another dimension listen to Buddy Wachter. He is one of the 
greatest musicians living today and he happened to pick his instrument of 
choice to be the tenor and plectrum banjo. He now makes his living has a 
headliner playing with orchestras.

John Mumford

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Bill Gunter" <jazzboard at hotmail.com>
To: <john at pembery.co.uk>; <dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com>
Sent: Friday, March 04, 2005 3:53 PM
Subject: RE: [Dixielandjazz] What is a banjo?

> Hi All,
> John Pembery wrote (regarding banjos in jazz):
>>Five stringers have no place in jazz unless you do away with the fifth 
>>string .
> Don't tell this to Bela Fleck.
> By the way, the Boondockers performs number where the banjo player starts 
> out on his plectrum playing "The World is Waiting for the Sunrise." After 
> a chorus, I switch from my washboard to banjo and join in, then the 
> trombone player (Maihack) switches to banjo and joins in, the the cornet 
> player (Gary Church) switches to banjo and joins in, then the clarinet 
> (Edgerton) picks up his banjo and joins in and then the piano player 
> (Ringwald) switches from keyboard to banjo and joins in. We're now a banjo 
> sextet and everyone in the joint stands up and cheers.  I wonder how many 
> notice I'm finger picking on a 5-string?
> Cheers,
> Bill "5 string twanger" Gunter
> jazzboard at hotmail.com
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